Virgin Trains launched a dead-simple digital OOH campaign in the UK this week that very effectively uses real-time data to tell motorists crawling along choked motorways that’d they’d likely have been far wiser to take a train.
The campaign for the railway, conceived by Virgin Train’s agency Anomaly and pulled off by the digital shop Grand Visual, combines traffic and location data to accurately tell motorists the comparable driving and riding times to destinations along roadways.
For example, the big digital board on a motorway out of Birmingham would have the current journey time to London for “by car” and “by train.” The campaign is reminiscent of one of my all-time fave real-time data OOH campaigns – the London Heathrow Express digital posters that tell people waiting for their bags that it will be cheaper and faster to take the train in than a black cab.
The Virgin Trains campaign is managed and distributed through OpenLoop, technology developed and spun off by Grand Visual, that analyses Transport API’s data and automates the information according to each poster site’s location.
The digital OOH boards are part of a broader campaign being run this month by the railway.
“Integrating real-time data feeds into this roadside campaign produces a clear and hard-hitting message for drivers: that Virgin Trains is a quick, easy and viable alternative,” says Katie Knowles, Virgin Trains’ marketing director. “During peak travel times when congestion is heavy, the live stats deliver our message in a compelling and impactful way.”
“Clever use of data provides a powerful call to action for using Virgin Trains,” says Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Technology Officer at Grand Visual. “The campaign is constantly updated throughout the day providing useful, relevant, real-time information. You can’t argue with stats like that.”
You can listen to a podcast from earlier this year with Dawson (below):
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.